Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dear Omahans




I'm copying this idea from Autumn, who also always has something to say.

Dear bitch who works at the Costco membership counter,
All I asked for was a coupon book, not your right arm. I don't know why you had to tell me that a) they weren't being mailed out until 2/4 so (b) you didn't have any. (1) I saw you give a coupon book to the woman in front of me in line, and (2) guess what was in the mailbox when I got home? A f***ing coupon book from Costco. Liar. You probably cost me $8, but I don't know for sure, because I'm still too pissed to open the coupon book.
Pissed but will still shop there because (a) the store is cheap and (b) we already have the membership card, ~Holly
********************************************************

Dear Hostess at Applebee's,
Why are you so superficially chipper? You're opening the door into the bitter winter and dodging old people and kids. Also, I haven't eaten all day and it's 5pm. Please don't so much as smile at me, let alone say, "welcome to Applebee's." If you would have so much as said the word "neighborhood," I would have decked you. There's a reason we ate at TGI Friday's instead.
Unfriendly neighbor, ~Holly
********************************************************

Dear three people in front of me in the line for the Redbox,
How do you live in 2010 and not know how to work a simple machine? I can't believe all three of you walked away w/o movies when Hy-Vee even gave you a code for a free one. Thanks for wasting my time waiting in a line when I could have been writing a blog about how much I hate everyone & everything.
Technologically savvy enough to rent a movie, ~Holly
*********************************************************

Dear applicant who wrote me a nasty letter,
You further prove that I'm good at my job by screening you out. So everything you said was ludicrous. Good luck on the job search. Maybe next time you should try being less of an a**hole.
Employed, ~Holly
*********************************************************

Dear meth-head paper boy,
I'm not letting you into my sister's apt. building. They make guarded entrances because of people like you.
Warm and sober, ~Holly
*********************************************************

Dear people who think I'm a bitch,
You're right.
Not ashamed, ~Holly

Thursday, January 28, 2010

toys

I know most of the toys they make these days are pretty much the same as what we had as kids. I see them in the stores - Fisher Price just updating their toys to be bigger so kids don't choke on them. When I was a kid, we had tons of toys. My mom had an in-home daycare and thought it was very important that we had plenty to play with. And we did. Here are some of my all-time favorites:



The day Amber and I got this kitchen was one of the best days of our lives. Still, to date, actually. My favorite plastic food was the cupcakes: I loved how the frosting would come off and transform them into muffins (that cake, however, sucked).





We loved Marble Works. We would race our marbles down, hoping not to get stuck in the red funnel.



We had all of the little people, except the airplane set. We stored the people in the silo of the barn. I thought this dog was stupid, even as a young kid. Why would the dog be as big as the people? What is it, a great dane?



I don't think most people know what these are: they're called Construx. We would use the Construx to make houses when we ran out of places to put our Little People or our Legos. I tried to make my houses look as nice as I could, but gray and blue never looks too good for an exterior or interior.



These were cute because I liked dogs and they weren't great danes. Chad had the mom who fit three puppies inside her belly. For some reason, that seemed pretty cool. Anytime you can store something in a toy, I liked it. How very practical.



I loved cash registers. Even as an adult, although I never worked retail, a couple restaurants I worked at had cash registers, and I found ringing people up to be delightful.



This was one of the coolest toys of all. You could pretend you were a cashier, and the conveyor belt was battery operated and would even slide the groceries up to the scanner. Awesome. Toys that made me feel like an adult were the best.

I want to own all these toys again. I want to go find every single 70s and 80s Fisher Price toy ever made and own it (my mom was really big into Fisher Price - said they were good quality). Maybe one day we'll even have a kid or two I can share my toys with.

Monday, January 25, 2010

flash drive


I get flustered very easily. I lose my cool in about three seconds flat when I can't find something. Just ask Steve. He's seen it many times. At least once a week when I'm trying to leave for work, I've lost my keys or my gloves or my phone - and I voice it. I can not stand it. I absolutely hate not knowing where something is. I see red when it happens. That's why I can't believe I'm blogging about this. It's like I'm boiling my own blood.

Awhile ago, I lost my SanDisk. Now my SanDisk is one of my most prized possessions. It contains all the documents of my life from my resume to my poetry collection to fiction I wrote to the spreadsheet of the poems I've submitted to literary journals. It is my life in a million words or so. And I have no idea where it is. It could be somewhere in this house (most likely) or it could be in a sewer (also quite possible). Who knows.

Without it, I don't write. I write this blog, but nothing else. I don't want to write if I can't stash it away with all my other work (I also don't write in separate notebooks - just the one until I've used it up). And it's become an excuse. A crutch. I need to write. One day my ideas will flit away and my only excuse is that I still haven't found my damn flash drive.

It's time to move on. But it's hard for me to move on. Just ask Steve. I still ask him about girls he met when he was 15 as if I'm missing out on a huge part of his dating past. My god, what a monster I've created of myself. Wanting everything to be together is tearing me apart. How cheesy. I am cheesy. And these are exactly the kinds of things I would already know about myself if I was able to write each night and save it onto the F drive. But it's time to move on. Otherwise, I'll never be a writer, and I'll have only myself to blame for it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

best not to mention

Now I won't claim to be a great wife by any stretch of the imagination, but Steve seems to like me. Tonight he told me my realistic expectations of him was what he loved about me. Hopefully that's not it, but it's something nevertheless.

We were having this conversation because he was watching the Vikings/Saints game on the good big tv in the living room and I told him I would watch "Julie & Julia" on the small tv in the basement. I have learned there are some things that aren't worth fighting over, and there's no reason to try to change a man. He will change only on his own accord (except for his wardrobe - that's a tiny battle I did manage to make progress in).

Here are some common mistakes women make that are best left alone:

1. Sports games - let a man watch it wherever he wants w/whomever he wants and stay out as late as he'd like. This is a benefit for us, too: alone time is a very sacred thing.

2. Movies in the theater - don't make him see your movie. Even if he acts like he likes chick flicks, you'll hear about it at some later date. Best to choose something neutral like a comedy or an Academy award winner.

3. Guys nights - they sound much more thrilling than they actually are. Most of the time, they just end up at some grungy apartment playing Texas Hold 'Em, so there's really no need to get upset over it. It's not like "the Hangover" and you're really not missing out on anything by not being invited.

4. Inlaws - Fine, we'll go over there whenever you want. Just don't ask me to cook anything.

5. Any vices in general - smoking, drinking, gambling, hygiene. He will always think of things you could improve about yourself, too if you mention it.

In return, Steve knows what to leave me alone about. Like:

1. Cooking - I can't do it. He doesn't make me.

2. Always insisting on having a dessert or grabbing a baked good from the grocery store.

3. My bad habit of retail therapy

4. The fact that I don't do as many chores as I could and I leave my clutter all around.

5. My physical insecurities

A partnership should be just that. No one controlling or manipulating the other - instead, two people who enhance each others' lives and makes them more enjoyable.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

umbilical cord

Today, I'm missing my daughter. I know you might think it's hard to miss someone you barely know and rarely see, but somehow I feel like I know her. I feel like she is me, only 22 years younger. I feel like we must have similar mindsets or mannerisms, the way every mother/daughter combo does but pretends against.

So on days like this, the best thing to do is clear my head. I went for a walk with Steve. The first walk we've had in quite sometime. This winter wonderland is slipping into a slushy, puddly one. It's nice to have a distraction. It's days like this when the laundry gets done or I organize something.

Gracie never leaves my mind or slips away, but there are days when she is there, a giant amongst every other dwarfed concern in life. There are these days when I don't have regrets, just "what ifs." I wish just to baby sit her, then I feel it's best that I don't. I'm like Robin Williams in "Mrs. Doubtfire" - just want to spend a little time with her to make the hurt go away.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the clock is broken

There is this boy who has a crush on me. No, Steve's not jealous. The boy is four years old. Mason calls me things like, "my sweetest" and runs across the living room in record time when I show up at the front door. Today his mom told me that he said, "you're just a mommy, but Holly, she's a lady." He curls up next to me wherever I'm sitting and begs me to play Go Fish with him or some sort of game that requires using your imagination.

When kids are like this, I consider having one or two someday. But kids aren't always like this. Mostly I see kids screaming and wailing and hitting and punching. A Wal*mart trip is the best form of birth control. Kids make messes and don't go to bed when they're supposed to and ruin hopes of a career one day. And I think I might just be too selfish for the commitment a child requires. I'm just being honest.

Sometimes I feel a little pressured. People expect a married couple to procreate shortly after tying the knot, it seems. Sometimes I mind the comments, sometimes I just tune them out as white noise. Everyone has an opinion on someone else's life, it seems. But I think you should make those decisions for yourself. I'm not one to allow someone else to make a decision for me. I'm not decided one way or the other, but always leaning in a direction.

I think it just needs more time. Time for me to answer my own questions. Time for me to realize that you're never 100% prepared for anything. Time for me to find out if there can be a balance, or if it has to be all or nothing. It's like when I played soccer and didn't mind sitting on the bench. I welcomed a delay from starting the game I knew I'd end up playing in anyway.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

half marathon




On Sunday, I ran my first half marathon.

The first half was a breeze. I ran the first seven miles w/o stopping, making pretty good time. But the second you stop, it's hard to start back up. You'd think once you've completed more than half, what's left is easy, but it's the exact opposite.

I ran the first seven miles alone, but had told my friend that we would meet up at mile 7 to finish together. The stopping was a mistake. At mile 11, I was cursing people and preaching how it's not natural for a body to run more than ten miles. It's really not.

But we made it - we finished together in under three hours. I'd like to say my mood was proud and accomplished, but more than anything, I was irritable and sour. There were 30,000 people I had to push through just to be able to sit down. And that's all I wanted - to sit down and give my legs a rest and my feet a breath.

I said I would never do a half marathon again, how I didn't see how anyone could find this fun at all. Marie told me once I had a chance to heal up, I would reconsider (this was her second half marathon). I've already reconsidered. Steve and I are casually thinking about doing the Omaha half marathon. Now that I've done it once, the idea is not nearly as daunting as scary as it was before.

The trick is to think of what you've accomplished, not what you have left to finish. It's a mind game more than anything.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

epiphanies #6





Why does Geico have so many mascots? I'm so annoyed about it. Pick one and stick to it. It seems like Geico has so much more to offer than they really do w/all these different commercials.

Is there a reason we load planes by row clusters? Inevitably, someone has to move into the aisle to let their row mate in. I had this problem on all four of my four flights. The other passengers sigh and harrumph as if that empty seat next to them was going to stay that way on what the flight attendant called "a completely full flight." We should board windows to aisles. "All A seats, come on in." Next F seats, then B seats. I should be paid for my genius. Don't even get me started on all the inventions I've come up with that no one else has thought up yet.

I've never seen so many hip pockets in my entire life as I saw this past weekend. There were hip pockets, work out utility belts, you name it. If it could possibly go around a waist, it did. At first, I thought they were for old people and homeschoolers, but with the shear volume, I've begun to rethink that and realize I might be the one missing out on the fad. They certainly would be more practical than a purse.

That reminds me: for Amber's 13th birthday, Chad and I got her a hip pocket. It was purple from Target. We filled it with things we thought you should put in a hip pocket: a wallet, Bubblicious, Teen Spirit deodorant. She was elated. She liked zipping open each new compartment to see some new treasure. Does this still work? I've got a few birthdays coming up and so far my ideas are limited to gift cards. Hip pockets are so much more interesting.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Seat 15A

I'm not a parent, so I'm really not one to criticize someone's parenting style, but maybe you parents can tell me if this is bizarre to you. I flew to Phoenix and back this weekend (half marathon - I'll blog about that later when my body and mind isn't so tired of it), and was sitting a row in front of a young girl on the way there. We both had window seats (first time for me since being married!) and we were both staring intently at the world below us as we descended.

The girl asked her mom a few questions:
Her Q: What is that?
Mom's A: Grand Canyon (it wasn't)
Her Q: Why is that part green?
Mom's A: Golf course (crop of some sort, but OK mom)


Then mom snapped. Maybe it was because her young child was obviously much smarter than herself, or maybe she is just impatient. Either way, she said, "why do you keep looking out the window? You should be watching Disney right now." I could see through the crack between my seat and the plane's wall that the girl was still looking out the window - mesmerized. "I mean it, I paid six dollars for that, you should have been watching Disney this whole time," mom said. "It's on Nick" the girl answered. "Well put it back on Disney and start watching it," mom huffed.

So the girl straightened up in her seat; forced to watch Hannah Montana instead of looking outside. All the while, I sat in front of them, mesmerized.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

thaw day


Today, the snow began to melt.

It's been well over a month since I've felt temperatures above freezing. There were many days that we didn't even made it into the positives. I have never been so happy to see puddles in my life.

At work, while I was giving applicants instructions on how to begin their typing assessments, I caught a glorious glimpse outside and stopped what I was doing to look again. I commented that it looked like a heat wave out there, but no one responded. They just wanted to pass a typing test already and I was blubbering on about the weather.

Don't you hate it when people talk about the weather? I do.

Except on Thaw Day. We should make that an annual holiday.

My demeanor has been defined by this snow. I'm panicked and crazed and stressed just thinking about driving in it or shoveling it or forcing Tucker to go outside in it, or cleaning our floors after it.

And today a little bit of that stress melted away.

Or maybe that's because I'm flying to Phoenix tomorrow morning. I will discover if there really is an Arizona and then I'll report back.

And hopefully I will return to snow piles that are measurable by a yardstick. Hopefully. But let's take it one thaw day at a time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Searching




Matins
by Louise Glück


You want to know how I spend my time?
I walk the front lawn, pretending
to be weeding. You ought to know
I'm never weeding, on my knees, pulling
clumps of clover from the flower beds: in fact
I'm looking for courage, for some evidence
my life will change, though
it takes forever, checking
each clump for the symbolic
leaf, and soon the summer is ending, already
the leaves turning, always the sick trees
going first, the dying turning
brilliant yellow, while a few dark birds perform
their curfew of music. You want to see my hands?
As empty now as at the first note.
Or was the point always
to continue without a sign?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Walking tall


Confession: I am self-conscious.

About many things, including the usual: stretch marks, pasty skin, crowded bottom teeth. But the most dangerous and ridiculous of all is that of my height.

I have always found tall woman to be striking. They command attention. There's a reason models are tall. And I have always wanted to be tall, as well. Not so tall that I have to shop at specialty stores like "Tall Girl," but tall enough to wear 35" inseam jeans and have one of those long torsos that looks great in a bikini.

But I wasn't born to be a perfect match for Waldo.



I'm not meant to be a model. So I pretend. I alter my height to a perfect 5'10" or 5'11" when I'm feeling courageous.



Only one time did I not wear heels to work, and I haven't made that mistake since. I teeter in my high heels rain or shine, sleet or snow. And with this ungodly amount of snow that is stacking up around here, my height insecurity is getting dangerous.

Walking the breadth of our parking lot at work is no easy task, regardless if you're wearing tennis shoes or stilts. And yesterday, in my stilts across the snow-packed ice, I grabbed on to my very polite co-worker and steadied myself on his arm. It was all very much like the prom march one does in high school, but I'm nearing thirty, wearing jeans, and just trying to go out for a burrito.

Today, Steve took me out to Zio's. Zio's is a great Omaha pizza joint, but in their parking lot, you can't pull up right next to the door - you have to park on the other side of Hollywood video and walk across to get there unless you have a handicap permit. If I keep wearing these heels, I might need one.

And finally, Steve lost it. Steve is a very patient man, so this must have been years of accumulating if he actually said something about it. He says, "Holly, next time we go out in this snow, why don't you just wear tennis shoes?" oh if only I could. I can go out unshowered or wearing yesterday's clothes, but without heels? That's crazy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

ABC

My current obsessions
as plagerized from Jason

Argyle
Boots
Crosswords
Davids (Duchovney, Beckham)
Ebay
Family Man
Google Earth
Husband
Imdb
Jigsaw puzzles
Keeping Christmas decorations up
Lists
Memoirs
Not using conditioner
Overtime
Pirates song by Norah Jones
Quesadillas
Raspberry Smirnoffs
Scarves
Taboo
Us Weekly
Victoria’s Secret catalog clothes
Walking instead of running
Xing workouts off my calendar
Yearbook from People magazine
Zzzs on the weekends

And what I can do without:

Angel perfume
Bruno
Clarks shoes
Doo rags
Elderly drivers
Fleece hat and glove sets
Grills
H1N1
InTouch
Jon & Kate
Kool Kuts
Luke Wilson’s commercials
Myspace
Nasty teeth
OMG
Political shows
Quiznos
Ruby Tuesday
Snow
Twitter
Unrealistic fiction
Vampire obsession
Winona Ryder
XX (Dos Equis) commercials
Yo mama
Zhu zhu pets

Thursday, January 7, 2010

color

My husband's childhood was a polar opposite of mine. Sometimes I find myself a tiny bit envious of his colorful past next to my gray one. He lived in Germany, Japan, Colorado, Nebraska, Alabama... (ok, so I'm not jealous of all Steve's childhood). He moved, he saw the world, he met new people; all while I was making up new games to play on our same trampoline.

His life story is perfectly divided into chapters, while I can't tell age 9 from age 14 when memories strike. Recently, I've even taken to writing down the dates I lived at certain apartments and held certain jobs so I can have a chronological list if ever I may need one (and I assume just about any list or spreadsheet will be a necessity at some time).

When I read an extraordinary story, I feel in comparison, I have nothing to say. Next to all the interesting and thought-provoking books in plastic covers, there lies my own book: just a faded cadet-blue leather binding without any pictures, glitz, fancy fonts. Like a pamphlet next to "War and Peace;" I am just a dull afterthought.

Suburbia

Showcased in a lineup,
our shoebox homes.
SUVs dotting the driveways.
Neutral paint colors.
Tiny flags from our lawn service.

Some slight variety -
nuances, really -
but we're all living
the same basic concept.

Like when the vacuum
runs over filth
of all different textures and colors
and churns it all
into the same gray fuzz.


- July 1, 2009


But today, amidst the drone of this endless winter snow churning everything to mucky slush, I caught a peak of color. A rainbow after the snow, that all of us in our cloned cars hoped was just for us. A splash of color showing us our colorless lives include a little more than we think.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

hair ribbons

When I was pregnant, the adoption agency told me when I found a profile of a couple I liked, I could interview them. And yes, I cringed at the word too - thinking of some people showing up with $15 pens, portfolios and blazers. This is a child, not a job you can quit if you don't like it. I was not going to prepare a list of questions, but just go with my instincts.

I have great instincts. Well, I do now. Obviously having great instincts didn't get me pregnant, so maybe it's something I learned. I met Matt and Nona at a delicious and tacky Mexican restaurant where I ravenously chomped down bowl after bowl of chips. You think I eat a lot now? You should have seen me when I was pregnant. I expected the worst from the interview: you know, that they would be diplomatic, poised, stuffy even.

So you can imagine how refreshed I felt when Matt told me he was glad to see I was not ugly, a concern of his prior to our meeting. I smiled in spite of myself, because that's one of those thoughts I would have had, too. And I might have said it, myself. We chatted between bites, and both Matt and Nona seemed genuine to me.

Nona is exactly the kind of woman that is cut out to be the best mother ever: positive, nurturing, caring. I'm sure she passed Home Ec with flying colors to my "F." Matt is the kind of person you can be friends with even when you're no longer a kid. He probably gets too rowdy when playing around - luckily Nona is there to calm him down and balance the couple out.

I wasn't quite sold, but getting there. That's when Matt told me how much he wanted a daughter. To be honest with you, that's exactly what I wanted to hear. But you can't ask, "why do you want a girl over a boy?" because everyone else in the world seems to want a boy, and I didn't want them to storm out and leave me with the tab when they found out I was carrying a female. OK, let me backtrack. Everyone else in the world says, "we just want a healthy baby," but what that really means is a boy.

Matt told me that when he was an 8-year old boy, he found some hair ribbons at a church garage sale and wanted to buy them for his future daughter to wear one day. And the other day, Matt posted this picture on his Facebook and I smiled. I smiled because there's a reason that girls usually pick out accessories. But mostly, I smiled because although my instincts were wrong at first, the choice that came later, my instincts were dead-on.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

it's a dog's life

Oh the joys of having a dog. He barks incessantly every time someone walks by. This always seems to happen an hour before I need to be up for the day. He sheds all over everything. Even things that are taller than he is somehow. He hates to go outside in the snow and lets us know that with his winter gifts he leaves us. He always lies on the bed in the exact spot my feet were planning on lying.

Yet he is worth it. When I'm home alone and see a shadow that looks like a body outside the front door, I rest assured that it's just mounds of snow since Tucker isn't barking at anything. When I go down into the basement, he follows me after much coaxing, making me less afraid of the hobo who lives down there. When I don't feel good, he lays on my chest and gives me kisses.

When Matt tries to give me a high-five, he growls at him showing he will protect me from any abuse. He eats what is left of my egg each morning, but not until I give it to him. He's both annoying and loveable. Just like any relationship, really.